The Change in Trains
Not so many years ago the advent of the industrial revolution brought forth amazing innovations like the steam train which literally changed the face of the earth.These majestic giants criss crossed the landscape of the world bringing new communities to life and were the life blood of the industrial world. In a relatively short time the face of transportation changed and the mode of transport has been considerably streamlined and modernized. Today sleek trains, emitting less pollution and little noise by comparison, take passengers at high speed around the world. Sadly for many the demise of this era has seen the end of a romantic time period when the sight and the sound of the noble steam engine was an exciting feature.
However it is still possible to find some of these wonderful examples of engineering in use today. Many surviving engines have been preserved and even restored for posterity and have found their way into a number of museums. These may well be functioning but are probably not being taken out for use on a regular basis. Some however have been brought back to life to service the publics’ increasing interest in the past and have since become a huge tourist attraction, offering the authentic experience for the next generation. All over the world you are able to travel for a limited distance on one of several surviving steam trains offering a unique experience and a wonderfully relaxing way to see the countryside.
In the United States it is possible to see and ride on a number of such trains. In Carson City Nevada for example you can ride the V&T railway between May and October and experience a long enough journey to feel how it was to be a part of this bygone era. The experience often includes a dinner and some form of on board entertainment in keeping with the increasing emphasis on tourist activities. Similarly the trains at Roaring Camp Railroads in California have ceased to be used for transporting lumber off the mountains but a ride aboard some of the oldest and most authentically restored engines will give you a taste of the incredible power these magnificent beasts contain and the ride through the iconic redwood trees is equally spectacular.
Sadly the chances of seeing a steam train doing what it was built to do on a daily basis are few and far between. China is probably the last place where a significant number of trains have been manufactured and run in more recent history. However today those few remaining routes have also diminished and the Jiayang Steam Train in Sichuan Province is the last remaining working engine. For the last several decades it has transported locals to and from the mines in the region but now it serves mainly as a tourist attraction and a means of transport for the few remaining locals.
Whilst the age of steam has certainly passed it is becoming more likely that enthusiasts of this era will continue to seek out and restore these magnificent beasts and provide at least a small taste of this truly unique time period for generations to come who still have a longing for those slower less stressful days!